Core Creek Lodge was not my first choice for an overnight. It was my only choice. With basic amenities, which nowadays should include The Weather Channel, it made departing easy this morning. Two problems developed. One, my red blinky light disappeared some where between Newport and Core Creek.. Two, The Weather Channel predicted scattered thunderstorms all day. Doppler radar showed a clearly defined line of rain to the East of the stalled front and the source of unsettled weather along the Carolinas. Lucky me!
Having unpacked very little, repacking was quick and I was able to be back on the road by 6:40. Loss of my blinky light was disconcerting since I anticipated being in rain ranging from steady to blinding. Steady soon arrived. Just short of blinding came later. Fortunately, traffic was relatively light and the paved shoulder was consistently wide. My hope was to reach Cedar Island for the 12:00 ferry to Ocracoke while still having time to stop for carbohydrates. When the near blinding rain arrived I began to doubt I’d make it at all. Ultimately, I missed the 10:00 Sailing by 15 minutes and was able to take the 11:00. One point for my team!
It rained too much and too often to take many pictures and the moment I tried to take pictures of the ferry debarkation point . . . deluge. It persisted up to the moment of boarding. The two and a quarter hour ferry trip leaves a lot of time to consider the next leg. Do I stop in Ocracoke? Do I continue another 2 hours (30 miles or so) to Avon?
Leaving the ferry in Ocracoke I realized my rear wheel was making a lot of dragging noises. Looking down and back as I rode it was obviously slightly out of true. Being a new wheel I was disconcerted, but also knew there is a bike shop in Avon. Fourteen miles to the Hatteras Ferry then eighteen and a half miles to Avon. With some effort, I made the 2:30 Hatteras departure and suddenly had cellular service again. Not good service, but some. In Hatteras proper, beneath a cellular antenna array I called Island Cycles. Yes they could true my wheel, but they close at 5. I had an hour an a half to make it to Avon if I was going to be a responsible patron and not expect the people there to work beyond closing. Could I make 18.5 in 90 minutes? On a good day, probably.
As I rode and time slipped away I realized I did not need the frantic pace, so I stopped and called Karen at Jewels by the Sea who I had promised to stop in to see when I made the trip. Could she call the motel where she said there would be reasonable rates despite it being in-season. Sure, she replied. I called Island Cycle and said I’d bring the bike by in the morning and would still have time to make the ride to Kitty Hawk tomorrow. Now, less encumbered by anxiety I set off at a more reasonable pace. The pace was reasonable but the bounce in each stroke said flat! Argh! And not just a puncture. A slice. Even a Marathon Plus can't handle that!
I called Karen and told her of my woes and asked for name of the motel telling her I’d visit while the wheel was being repaired. She immediately offered to arrange to pick me up and deliver me to the motel in Buxton. “I live in Buxton,” she added. A short time her able associate (and sister-in-law), Vicki, arrived in a large enough sport utility. Minutes later I was checking in and changing to my spare tire.